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Author Topic: Feeding Ewes in Lamb  (Read 6526 times)

Galahad

  • Joined Aug 2013
Feeding Ewes in Lamb
« on: January 19, 2015, 08:09:09 pm »
Hi I have 3 Greyface Dartmoor ewes 82 days in lamb, this is our first time lambing and I would like advice on what would the normal quantity of hard feed be per ewe per day, I have been told none by one person & 1kg per ewe per day by another person, this has left me quite confused, I would appreciate any help !!!!!

many thanks 

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Feeding Ewes in Lamb
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2015, 08:22:59 pm »
Don't be confused. 1kg per day would be the absolute max you could stuff into a GFD before causing problems and you would have to build up to that over time so its an interesting figure. If they have adequate forage or grass they should not need anything - are they not hardy Moor sheep after all?

The most I fed mine (when I had them, don't judge me they've gone now, it was a phase!) I started on good hay and 100g per day at six weeks off, four weeks off stepping up to 200g then increasing to a max of 700g in two feeds for the last week = Big ol' hairy lambs... but it all depends on BCS, forage quality, number carried etc for the detail but it gives you an idea. It would be unusual to feed so far off lambing, are they painfully thin or expecting quads or on no grass and are you lumbered with poor quality forage maybe?

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Feeding Ewes in Lamb
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2015, 08:28:53 pm »
To be fair they are not near as tough as the GFD people claim or anywhere near as milky and do not rear twins easily, they rear twins just. So do need a bit of feeding to avoid mishaps and runts, starting on a kg at 82 days in lamb though will land you in the vets sooner and later and I know no one wants to make the vet any richer! 

FiB

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Bala, North Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Feeding Ewes in Lamb
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2015, 09:36:18 pm »
So very breed specific, feeding hard stuff? I started out feeding in the last 6 weeks (Beulah and lleyn) then last year (with surprise lambs from store ram lamb break in) ended up with the best lambs ever on NO hard feed (nor heptovac :-( ). So this year hadn't planned to hard feed pre lambing, as it worked out so well. Just as much lovely hay as they can eat. But having doubts ...... Can it be ok , no hard feed?

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Feeding Ewes in Lamb
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2015, 12:27:08 am »
I'd always cake hoggs a little, but only a little if they are carrying a single.  More if they are carrying twins, of course.

Generally otherwise a single-bearer should be fine on good hay plus minerals.

Twin-bearers more likely to need some hard feed unless some or all of the following are true:
 
. tup same breed or small / easy-lambing breed
. ewe breed is milky and thrifty
. forage is good quality and plentiful
. no other stresses - good ground, not too wet a winter, etc

BH never caked Texel ewes at all for years, being concerned about over-sized lambs getting stuck, but the ewes didn't milk very well for twins without some hard feed in the last month at least.  We're on upland Cumbrian ground, of course, so by now there's little in the grass and even our hay and silage won't be very high feed value compared to a lowland farm / more southerly farm.

If not caking then I would certainly give minerals throughout, and sugar / treacle in the last 6 weeks too.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Slimjim

  • Joined Apr 2013
  • North Devon
Re: Feeding Ewes in Lamb
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2015, 09:37:13 am »
You will find a lot of variation in what people on here do about feeding cake during pregnancy - they all seem to work! 
Those that do feed cake usually start  at 6 weeks before lambing date because 70% of the lambs growth takes place during that period. If you decide to use cake, it is important to start with a small amount and increase weekly to the final amount. But don't stop there - continue beyond lambing by reducing the weekly amounts down to zero.
The amounts in Me's post above are similar to those I use for ewes with twins and have worked well so far.
Before I had my ewes scanned I used to feed them all as if they were carrying twins. That was fine for those that were, but a Badger Face with a single had a massive lamb that needed some help to get out. If you haven't had your three GFD' scanned, I suggest you assume they are carrying singles and feed cake accordingly ( or not at all ).
As you would have gathered, it's not and exact science - there are too many variables, so you are often left with trial and error to determine the best way. Good luck with your girls.
PS. I bought my first GFD hogg last year, and she is expecting twins to my Hampshire ram so that will be interesting!


Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Feeding Ewes in Lamb
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2015, 09:44:06 am »
I was going to refer to one of my previous posts here: http://www.accidentalsmallholder.net/forum/index.php?topic=22816.msg219804#msg219804  but the links are out of date.


So try this:
http://hccmpw.org.uk/publications/farming_and_industry_development/sheep_management/
"Feeding the ewe for lifetime production" (top right)  page 19, there is a very rough table, based on 75kg adult ewe weight. Scale that down (or up) based on your ewes weight. ... or read the whole document and do your own sums :)


Also: http://www.eblex.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/brp-manual-12-Improving-ewe-nutrition-for-better-returns-281114.pdf  it's been updated since I last referred to it and it looks more like the complicated calculations in the HCCMPW doc.


I feed my BWM ewes a flat rate of 200g per day for 6 weeks prior, and they have a lifeline bucket, and as much hay as they want.  They lamb outside in March at about 200%.


My ewe lambs get 8 weeks @ 200g plus the bucket and hay, only because they are in with the ewes and lamb 2 weeks later.


Of course it also depends on the quality of your hard feed too, and how much grass you have! :)

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Feeding Ewes in Lamb
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2015, 01:37:02 pm »
it's not and exact science - there are too many variables, so you are often left with trial and error to determine the best way

The science can become more exact if you wish by blood sampling the ewes to measure beta hydroxybutyrate levels in later stages - a bit mad for three ewes but interesting  :sheep: :sheep: :sheep:

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Feeding Ewes in Lamb
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2015, 01:52:23 pm »
trial and error
Yup, definitely.  Whatever you do, make sure you write it down so you remember for next year.  That way, if you have any issues like large lambs or lambs too small or over fat ewes etc, you can tweek your feeding regime for the following year.

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Feeding Ewes in Lamb
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2015, 02:32:07 pm »
I must admit I go on the hit and hope best guess approach myself.. maybe I should blood sample now we have a few more...

Bramblecot

  • Joined Jul 2008
Re: Feeding Ewes in Lamb
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2015, 06:57:04 pm »
Our GFD ewes are on ad-lib hay as grass is now poor, mineral buckets, and will have a Lifeline bucket from next week.  If anything mine are overweight :innocent: for lambing, the Shetlands are much leaner.
They are lambing in approx 10 weeks.  About 3 weeks before I will start them on a small amount of hard feed  increasing to 1/2 kg max  at lambing.  In the past I have fed more hard feed and the single lambs have been too large for easy lambing - but the ewes are always very milky and rear twins with no trouble.  As others have said, it is not an exact science.  Have a look at the GFD facebook page - lots of tips :thumbsup:

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Feeding Ewes in Lamb
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2015, 07:32:49 pm »
Obviously licks vary in their formulations and must be considered hard feed, mine would take a good 100g per day of the Crystalix high energy given the chance, I would take this into account if you are going to offer it.

Maybe I was too mean with the feed Bramblecot - shall we agree to say to reach their potential they feel the need, the need to feed?

Jamie12

  • Joined Nov 2013
Re: Feeding Ewes in Lamb
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2015, 08:26:17 pm »
Finding this thread very interesting. I have 30 March born ewe lambs in a 20ish acre field, they have a crystalyx bucket, have access to a small bale of hay (landlord has left it for the horses next door   ::) ) but don't seem to be touch in it, start lambing very end of march/April. Not feeding them anything as I don't want them over fat, still new to this all.

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Feeding Ewes in Lamb
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2015, 08:46:43 pm »
I've 30 odd Lleyn ewe lambs on round bale silage, no feed, they start in 8 weeks, not likely to feed any time soon and they are looking good.

There are various ways of working out reasonable book values, Person? Peason? Equation, - gives approximate guestimates

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Feeding Ewes in Lamb
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2015, 08:48:46 pm »
Jamie12 - if I were you I'd continue as you are if they are in good condition, replace the crystalyx bucket if they finish it.  Then once they lamb get them onto hard feed daily for a month or so to ensure they have enough energy to produce milk and keep themselves growing.


Note they may not be eating the hay if they are not used to it. Sometimes they need to see an older sheep eating it to know they are also supposed to eat it.

 

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